Pediatric healthcare providers stand in the unique spot of not only caring for the physical health of a child, but also the emotional well-being of the child and their family. Parents often look to their pediatric providers as a source for guidance, reassurance, and information as their child grows. Recognizing this dynamic, the Center for the Study of Social Policy created Strengthening Families to help providers support their patients and families, and thereby helping to reduce potential traumatic experiences. Strengthening Families focuses on five protective factors which providers can easily address during routine medical events:

  • Parental Resilience: The ability of parents to form nurturing relationships and respond to stressful situations in productive ways.
  • Knowledge of parenting and child development: A parent’s understanding of how children develop and the role families play in fostering development.
  • Social Connections: The many positive relationships families need for emotional and concrete support.
  • Concrete Supports in Times of Need: A family’s ability to access help and resources when needed, from informal and/or formal support networks.
  • Social-Emotional Competence of Children: Children’s ability to express and control their emotions in a developmentally appropriate way.

Taking a few moments to check in with your patient's families, assessing these five protective factors, and providing the appropriate guidance and resources can make a world of difference in a child's life.

What tips or suggestions do you have for fellow pediatric providers for the best ways to evaluate a family's emotional health?